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Making a habit of blowing it

Bart: Don't be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.
Homer: Pfft. I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there's Magnetbox and Sorny.

-- "Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield"

Wilmington Star columnist Andrew Jones lays into the Wolfpack here.

Before I get into agreeing with Andrew, I have to point out one thing. What's up with this sentence?

Quarterback Mike Schneider’s thrown interception from the 4-yard-line that was intercepted in the end zone the most costly mistake of several the Blue Devils made.

I have a headache now.

Putting it delicately, N.C. State is not a smart football team. This isn’t to suggest the Wolfpack aren’t smart people, they just don’t have great football IQs. And where do players get their football IQs?

Yep, from the coaching staff. However, if the staff isn’t willing to accept responsibility for the constant parade of mental mistakes, nothing will change.

Amato didn’t display any accountability for the mistakes. He pointed the finger at the players, going so far as to jokingly request suggestions from the media on how to fix the problem.

Earth to Chuck: You are paid handsomely to get your team to line up correctly in formations; not make so many stupid penalties; understand the do’s and don’t’s of special teams; and to win close games against comparable opponents, especially at home.

I really, really wish I could counter this with something. But this is the team coached by the guy who wears sunglasses during night games in order to maintain an image.

The coaches supposedly emphasized penalties during the pre-season. I was optimistic, but I should have known better. You can't change a team's character in a couple of weeks, and pointing out the problems in scrimmages doesn't address the root of the problem.

Which is to say: the coaches are the problem. Everything starts with the coaching staff. They set the tone. There are plenty of teams that manage to be both talented and smart. Aggressive and prudent.

Amato came here to craft NC State in FSU's image. He brought the Florida athletes, he brought the 'Noles defensive philosophy...and he brought the penalties. Florida State always had the talent to overcome its mistakes. NC State isn't at that point, and it may never be. Until we learn how to play smarter, we'll just be crappy knock-offs.